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Mini Cooper

Well here we are again, somehow I have managed to get myself into another car, despite still owning three others already.

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So the MX5 has been for sale for over a month with very little in the way of interest (partly my fault, I missed the pre-christmas summer rush on soft top car buying, and I buggered the listing by Trademe calling it a Eunos Roadster, not an MX5). The other day I was contacted asked if I would like to swap the MX5 for a Mini.

I initially wasn’t interested, I really needed to cash in the car for dollar bills, but since this was the first person to contact me since listing it, I decided to find out some more about the Mini. It wasn’t a Cooper S, but just a normal 1.6 Cooper with a manual transmission. Liquid Yellow, NZ New, 2003 and half leather interior.

I got sent a couple of photos which tempted me further. I have always liked the little “new” Mini, and want a Cooper S with the Supercharger, but never got around to it.

These are what I was sent. Not much to go off, but enough to tempt me.

I asked all the questions, and got the answers I like to hear so I said I was interested. She was in Blenheim but was willing to travel, and sure enough, she jumped on a ferry this morning and popped over to Wellington. She was super eager which raised some alarm bells but I couldn’t fault the car at the time.

The little Mini was in pretty good over all. Tidy inside and out with some minor wear. I took it for a test drive and it did everything it needed to at the time, so after her husband drove the MX5 we agreed to do the trade.

I only got a few minutes down the road after completing the change of ownership on the cars before an issue popped up. I stopped for the wife to do some quick shopping, and whilst she did that I sat in the car on the phone sorting insurance. I had the engine running to power the AC, and after a few minutes of idling, the temp gauge had shot up to “HOT-HOT-HOT SHUT IT OFF” temp. The fan was blowing at jet engine speeds trying to reduce the temps to no avail.

I shut the engine off and but kept the ignition on so the radiator fan would keep running and sure enough the temps dropped to normal again. I took this as an opportunity to limp to the nearest petrol station and check it out.

All I could check was that the overflow had liquid in it, which it did, and that the oil didn’t appear to have any coolant in it. the car seemed to drive fine and the temp was stable when moving, so I headed home. The temp stayed stable the whole way home.

When home I did some research into common faults for overheating. The most common is air locks, and a cracked overflow tank. The overflow is full, and doesn’t appear to be leaking, so I let the engine cool down a bit and wound open the coolant bleed screws. Nothing came out of the front one except a whoosh of air and a small dribble came from the rear one. Well that might be a problem.

These cars don’t have “radiator” caps as such, the cap is inline in the pipework next to the airbox.

Push down and twist counter-clockwise. Ah, well that IS a problem.

There’s almost no coolant in there. I grabbed some water and started pouring it in. It took a good couple of litres before it was full.

What’s in there doesn’t pass my standards for “coolant” so I purchased some “mix with anything” coolant and will flush and refill properly, but in the meantime I just filled with water and bled the system properly. Tons of air came out in the process. The heater now works (didn’t previously) and the engine doesn’t overheat at idle now. I took it for a good drive and it all worked as it should.

Speaking of the drive, it started to spit when I was finishing up the coolant bleeding, but when we were out it started to utterly bucket down. Lots of surface flooding, and low visibility… but that wasn’t the worst of it, the driver’s side wiper rubber was working itself out with every wipe!

We made it home in one piece, and now I’ll need to work out a few things on the Mini.

The car has some good spec,

S214A Automatic stability control (ASC+T)

S228A Sports suspension settings Plus

S240A Leather steering wheel

S325A Rear spoiler

S329A Hood stripe, black

S346A Chrome Line exterieur

S368A MINI LA wheel, 5-star 16″ (Since replaced with 17″ wheels)

S383A Roof and mirror shrouds, black

S423A Floor mats, velours

S427A Interior surface, silver

S441A Smoker package

S450A Height adjustment, passenger seat

S470A Isofix-System

S481A Sports seat

S493A Storage compartment package

S520A Fog lights

S530A Air conditioning

S546A Revolution counter

S548A Kilometer-calibrated speedometer

S564A Interior light package

S650A CD player

S657A Radio, BMW Business/MINI Boost (replaced with Sony Mechless BT/AUX unit)

S818A Battery master switch

S825A Radio control Oceania

S853A Language version English

S861A Data record without EOBD

S864A Retailer Directory Overseas

S872A Equipment “Chili”

S880A On-board vehicle literature English

Need to do,

A coolant flush
Work out why I can’t get FM on the radio (Antenna not connected?)
Clean the interior
Polish the paintwork
Replace peeling bonnet stripes (supplied)

Photos from the first day of ownership